The other day I had occasion to see this older woman, and it was one of those moments where you feel strangely empty but somehow it's like God is there trying to show you something. Then it's kind of like you're outside of yourself looking in and you raise an eyebrow and wonder if it's real or not. I don't know...
It all reminded me of a gentleman I'd once known, and I knew him in ways perhaps no one else ever did. I preached at his funeral several years ago, and before that I visited him regularly in the alzheimers unit of a nursing home. Those were always such bittersweet visits. It was the first time I'd ever had a grown man put his head on my shoulder and sob uncontrollably. Sometimes he would look at me and it was so completely knowing that it was like his whole face was a smile, yet there were also times when he would grab hold of my shirt with a look of horror and demand I not leave him alone. I always dreaded going to visit him, but every time I left afterward it felt like somehow I had just been in the presence of God. Certainly not because of anything he ever said, because often it was unintelligible. A lot of times neither one of us would even speak, we'd just sit there. I don't know how to explain it. I miss those visits now.
So, anyway, the other day I see this woman. Someone was trying to get her attention and she was completely lost in a conversation - and it may have been only with herself. All of a sudden it reminded me of him. She was so like a child. At first I was sad because - and realize, I am no doctor, so I don't know - but the thought occurred to me that, "Oh my, she is developing alzheimers." But at the same time it brought a smile to my face, because she really had no clue as to what she was like. For now.
I don't know much about alzheimers, but I think it would be better if those suffering from it didn't remember ANYTHING. Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of frustration involved with it. They remember enough, and seem to be aware enough, to be miserable. But I wonder if God, in his loving grace, doesn't also allow them to forget enough that they can enjoy just being His child. I don't know.
I don't know that I have a point, but I remember sitting there the other day... looking up and seeing this woman, and remembering this man. It brought back a lot of memories. They were both good and bad all at the same time. I don't know what to make of things like that. There seems to be a certain serenity about it. Hmm.